I have taken advantage of this opportunity to share with you the experience of one of our friars concerning the admirable effects and continual help he receives from the practice of the presence of God; we can both benefit from it.
He often complains of our blindness and cries out ceaselessly that we deserve sympathy for settling for so little. “God,” he says, “has infinite treasures to give us, yet we are satisfied with a bit of perceptible devotion that passes in an instant.” He complains that “we are blind since we bind God’s hands in this way and halt the abundant flow of his graces; yet when God finds a soul penetrated by an intense faith he pours out his graces in abundance. This torrent of his grace, impeded from running its ordinary course, expands impetuously and abundantly once it has found an outlet.”
Yes, sometimes we stop this torrent by our lack of appreciation for it. We must not stop it any longer, dear Mother; we must turn inward, break through the dam, let grace come forth, and make up for lost time. We have so little time left to live. Death is at our heels, so be on guard: death comes only once!
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, O.C.D.
The Practice of the Presence of God, Letter 1
Father Conrad De Meester, O.C.D. who was the editor of the French critical edition of Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God notes these biographic details concerning the uncle whose own Discalced Carmelite vocation inspired Brother Lawrence to enter religious life after military service:
His uncle Jean, his mother’s brother, a native of Hériménil, Jean Majeur entered the Discalced Carmelites as a lay brother at the beginning of October 1633. He took the name “Brother Nicolas of the Conception.” He was professed in Paris on December 9, 1635, and died on February 20, 1652, in his nephew’s monastery in Paris.
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God (Biographic note, p. 27; Letter 1, p. 53) Copyright © 1994, 2015 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC
God does not abandon the children who love him and who are suffering.
Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Cahier Scolaire No. 10, p. 34
Many and varied are the ways in which our saintly forefathers laid down how everyone, whatever his station or the kind of religious observance he has chosen, should live a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ — how, pure in heart and stout in conscience, he must be unswerving in the service of his Master.
It is to me, however, that you have come for a rule of life in keeping with your avowed purpose, a rule you may hold fast to henceforward; and therefore:
The first thing I require is for you to have a prior, one of yourselves, who is to be chosen for the office by common consent, or that of the greater and maturer part of you; each of the others must promise him obedience — of which, once promised, he must try to make his deeds the true reflection — and also chastity and the renunciation of ownership.
Saint Albert of Jerusalem
The Carmelite Rule, Chapters 2-4
The Child Jesus wants us to seek Him alone, in simplicity of spirit; and the Divine Simplicity banishes from our souls all folly and depravity. No amusement: neither in ourselves nor in creatures. Nothing but Jesus who is sought and served simply and in truth.
Venerable Margaret of the Blessed Sacrament
Conversations with Mother Elizabeth of the Trinity
Venerable Margaret of the Blessed Sacrament (Margaret Perigot, 7 February 1619 – 26 May 1648) was a professed Discalced Carmelite nun of the Carmel of Beaune, France. Orphaned in her early adolescence, her uncle, a priest, entrusted the devout child to the Discalced Carmelite nuns of Beaune. She had a particular devotion to the Infant Jesus, and soon discovered that He entrusted her with a special mission: to make him known as the Little King of Grace. Venerable Margaret died at age 20, but devotion to the Infant Jesus of Beaune and Venerable Margaret continues to this day.
Your life will pass like an instant.
On Carmel we are very near Heaven.
My beloved, my love has chosen you.
I have reserved a glorious throne for you!….
Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus
PN 16, Song of Gratitude of Jesus’s Fiancée
On 5 February 1895, Céline Martin was clothed in the Carmelite habit and began her novitiate in the Carmel of Lisieux. St. Thérèse wrote the Song of Gratitude of Jesus’s Fiancée as a gift for her sister’s clothing.
God is our goal: whether you are working or praying, remember that this is the essential thing.
Blessed Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus
Springtime story of a little white flower written by herself and dedicated to the Reverend Mother Agnes of Jesus. It is to you, dear Mother, to you who are doubly my Mother, that I come to confide the story of my soul.
St Therese of the Child Jesus
Story of a Soul, MsA 02r
Honorius, Bishop, Servant of the Servants of God — to his beloved sons, the prior and the brother hermits of Mount Carmel, health and the apostolic blessing. We enjoin you and your successors, for the remission of your sins, to observe in the future, as faithfully as you can with the help of God, the rule which was given to you by the Patriarch of Jerusalem of happy memory, and which, as you have humbly contended, you received before the General Council.
Ut Vivendi Normam, 30 January 1226
Jesus, my love, have mercy on me.
Blessed Archangela Girlani
Her last words
Albert, called by God’s favor to be patriarch of the church of Jerusalem, bids health in the Lord and the blessing of the Holy Spirit to his beloved sons in Christ, B. and the other hermits under obedience to him, who live near the spring on Mount Carmel.
Saint Albert of Jerusalem
The Rule of St Albert, Chapter 1
One feast day of St. Paul, while I was at Mass, this most sacred humanity in its risen form was represented to me completely, as it is in paintings, with such wonderful beauty and majesty; I have written about it in particular to your Reverence when you insistently ordered me to do so. And writing about it was very difficult for me to do because one cannot describe this vision without ruining it.
Saint Teresa of Jesus
The Book of Her Life, 28:3
Gaze at Him tirelessly, gaze at Him in your little heaven and ask Him, when you are gazing there, to give you the virtues that will make you beautiful in His divine eyes.
St Teresa of the Andes
The Writings of St Teresa of Jesus of the Andes
I want what God wants, I hate what God hates, the will of God is mine.
Blessed Francis Palau y Quer
I have a certain power of initiative, a certain vigor in overcoming obstacles, in short, the requisites, aided by divine grace, for the organization of works; then, scarcely are they set on foot, than Our Lord sends me away to a distance from them. And thus you see how, in spite of my conversion, I am always the Wandering Jew.
Servant of God Augustine Mary of the Most Blessed Sacrament
Reflections of a Hebrew Catholic
You have entered an Order so holy and perfect, that by keeping its rules and constitutions faithfully, one will go directly from her deathbed to her home in heaven.
Servant of God Anne of Jesus
Autobiography of Blessed Mother Anne of St. Bartholomew
The Carmelite often sees herself surrounded by darkness that hides her Beloved. She sees herself rejected and unprotected. Is it possible that there is any greater suffering for a soul who has abandoned all to follow the God she loves than to see herself alone without Him?
St Teresa of the Andes
The Writings of Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes
The power of men is extended only to what concerns my body, but God alone has jurisdiction over my soul.
Blessed Sister St. Francis Xavier
To Quell the Terror, Chapter 10
The holiest, most ordinary, and most necessary practice of the spiritual life is that of the presence of God.
Bro Lawrence of the Resurrection
Spiritual Maxims 6
Oh! My little Aunts, how happy I am; here I am, the bride of Christ! I would like to speak to you about my profession, but, you see, it is something so divine, earthly language is powerless to repeat it. I had had very beautiful days before, but now I no longer even dare compare them with that day.
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 154 to her Rolland aunts, 12 January 1903 (or a little after)